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Summit Youth Running Tigers

Parents Guide to Cross Country

Welcome! Your Son or Daughter has joined the Tigers Cross Country Team.


What is Cross Country?

The Sport of Cross Country is a competitive team sport offered in the fall. Training and optional group runs starts in the July time frame. Teams consist of five or

more runners who all race together at the same time with other teams. The top five finishers from each team are scored and their finishing places are added up for the team score. The lowest score wins. Races vary based on age and how the cross country meet is set up.  Races are generally 1 mi or 2 kilometers for runners under 9 and 2 mi or 3 kilometers for runners 9 through 12 years old. The courses are mostly run across grassy fields, wooded paths, and have a mixture of hills and some courses include creek crossings and log jumps to make it interesting! A great thing about cross country (abbreviated XC or CC) is that everyone competes! Everyone runs the same course, and although the first 7 runners to finish are considered the scoring team, at every meet ALL athletes get to participate. There are no cuts, and no bench to sit on and watch while others play!


How Cross Country is Scored

While many of the meets we compete in are not scored for team we do have a few so it’s good to know how it works. A cross country meet is scored by each team adding up the places of its top 5 finishers. As in golf, the low score wins. For example, a team that scores 26 points places ahead of a team that scores 29

points, as follows:

Tigers            Hudson

1                      2

4                      3

5                      7

6                      8

10                    9

Score 26 Score 29

(Tigers Win!)

A team’s 6th and 7th place finishers can also figure in the scoring if they place ahead of the other teams’ top 5 finishers. When that is the case, they become “pushers” by pushing up their opponents’ scores. Only a team’s 6th and 7th finishers can be “pushers”, regardless of how many of its runners may finish ahead of an opposing team’s top 5 finishers.

What it Takes to be Successful

More than anything else, success in Cross Country takes time…time to learn; time to train; time to sleep, rest and recover; after school time; weekend time; time away from family and friends; and time away from other interests. With the academic responsibilities of being a high school student, most student-athletes are busy all the time. We try to achieve a balance between all things while aspiring to do well in cross country.


How can you help your son or daughter?

As your aspiring young runner begins the first week of training, you may wonder what to expect and how you can assist him or her as a parent in terms of recovery, eating, sleeping, and mental attitude. As a rule, we don’t recommend you change any aspect of your normal routine of home responsibilities, family meal planning, bedtime, and social guidelines. A normal consequence of beginning to train is muscle soreness, which will soon go away. If your son or daughter has not competed in sports before, this may persist up to 2 weeks. They should communicate this to us so we can adjust their training. Any athlete engaged in intensive training and competition can be subject to injury. We can prevent most injuries when our runners tell us about their aches and pains before they become disabling, so we can have then treated by one of our coaches. A nutritious, well balanced diet is essential for an athlete. Especially on race days, fatty and fried foods, and carbonated or acidic drinks should be avoided. Small portions of easily digested food eaten at least 3 hours before competition are best, but water intake should never be limited. Most athletes feel best when they race a little hungry. You should see your runners gradually starting to eat more carbohydrates.


How to Buy Running Shoes

If possible, go to a store that deals primarily with running footwear and apparel such as Ritchies Sporting Goods These stores have experienced runners as sales persons who can help you choose the right shoe with the right fit for your athlete. If you need a list of stores that deal with this type of footwear, please contact one of the coaches. The best way to prolong the life and function of a new pair of running shoes is to wear them for running only, not as school shoes or for PE class. It is not necessary to purchase special running apparel. Loose fitting T-shirts and shorts are adequate for daily training, and your athlete will be issued a school uniform and warm-ups. It is important that shoes be selected for their function, not their pretty colors!


Cross Country Vocabulary

- INVITATIONAL MEET…a multi-team meet

- TOP 7…the scoring members of a Cross Country Team

- COURSE…the marked and measured route of the race

- STARTING BOX…designated area to which a team is assigned on the starting line

- FALSE START…leaving the starting line before the gun sounds

- FINISH CHUTE…a rope bordered funnel past the finish line that moves runners into their single file order of finish.

- PACE…running speed over a particular distance

- SURGE…a tactical increase in pace during the race

- KICK…a burst of speed at the finish of the race

- PACK…a group of runners in close proximity

- PERSONAL RECORD (PR)…best ever performance on a given course.

- RACING FLATS…special, lightweight shoes designed for racing, rather than daily training.

- TRAINING FLATS…running shoes designed for long wear in daily training

- WARM-UP…a running and stretching routine that gradually warms up the body for intense running.

- COOL-DOWN…a jogging/walking routine that allows the muscles to purge themselves of lactates and the body to gradually lower its temperature to normal.

- WORKOUT…a daily training session


Preparing to watch your first cross country meet

When you arrive at the meet, ask us to see a map of the course. First, locate the start and finish, then try to scout central points where you can see as much of the race with as little moving around as possible. Do not expect the attention of your son or daughter once we get to the meet. The athletes need time to warm up on the course, be briefed by their coaches, and prepare for the race with their teammates. Many parents are initially surprised at the seriousness their son and daughter shows prior to and during a race. The intensity of competition may reveal a side of your young athlete’s personality you haven’t seen before.  During the race, you can move from point to point along the course to cheer the runners as they pass. Be careful, however, to stay off the runners’ path and out of their way. Rules also forbid running alongside a competitor to pace or encourage him or her. At the finish of the race, the runners file through the finish chute. It’s OK to greet them then, but they may have to turn a place card into their coach ASAP so scores can be tabulated. Our runners have other responsibilities after the race. We expect them to jog and cool-down as a team and actively support their teammates who have yet to race. Some runners are more spent than others after a race. Typical symptoms of their effort and fatigue are breathlessness, general weakness, rubbery legs, glassy eyes, salivating, and sometimes nausea. A mistake parents sometimes make is to take their sons or daughters off by themselves to try and take care of them. Please do not do this! Our coaches are experienced in dealing with these symptoms.  To aid recovery, water is the best thing to drink immediately after a race. Expect the possibility of some disappointment by your athlete after the race if his or her team did not win, and/or if he or she failed to achieve all goals. Athletes may need some emotional space afterward from both you and their coaches. Later on, they will need verbal support. Also, we ask that our runners not leave right away after their race is over, unless they have a pressing commitment.  We often have information to provide afterwards and again, we want everyone to stay and support their teammates.

Parent Involvement

The Tigers have been very blessed with involvement  This program is a lot of fun to be around. Please make the time to be with our team and make yourself known to the athletes, coaches and other parents. All those who have truly been involved over the years have always walked away raving about the great experience they had. Take it one step at a time, slowly but with enthusiasm and effort. Please feel free to call upon the coaches at anytime. Without parent support any Cross Country program could not do all the things that need to be done each season. Parental support is an important contribution to having a successful season!

Much of the above content courtesy of

Field Status

Open Open

Evamere Elementary School (12:37 PM | 10/12/22)

Open Open

Valley Vista Park (12:39 PM | 10/12/22)

Open Open

Blue River Memorial Park (12:42 PM | 10/12/22)

Open Open

Field Local Schools (just behind the High School Track near Elementary School Upper area) (12:59 PM | 10/12/22)

Open Open

Field 1 (12:59 PM | 10/12/22)